Duveen Brothers

Alternative names

Hide Profile

The Duveen Brothers firm, notable art dealers with branches in London, Paris, and New York, were active in the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. Under the guidance of Joseph Duveen, and assisted by art experts, most notably Bernard Berenson, Duveen Brothers monopolized the American art market for five decades. Edward Fowles was president of the firm after Joseph Duveen's death, and served until 1964, when he sold Duveen stock and other property to Norton Simon.

From the description of Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 79219227

From the description of Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 222481659

From the description of Duveen Brothers records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 145863967

Art dealers; New York, N.Y.

From the description of Duveen Brothers records, 1910-1933. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86122680

The Duveen Brothers firm, notable art and antique dealers with branches in London, Paris, and New York, were active in the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. The New York office was opened in 1886. Under the guidance of Joseph Duveen, and assisted by art experts, most notably Bernard Berenson, Duveen Brothers monopolized the American art market for five decades.

From the description of Duveen Brothers stock book, 1877 October 18 and 1878 January 24. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612793728

Administrative history

Duveen Brothers, notable art dealers in London, Paris, and New York from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, brought to America high quality old master paintings and decorative arts from the great private collections in Europe. Under the guidance of Joseph Duveen (1869-1939) and assisted by art experts, most notably Bernard Berenson, the Duveen Brothers monopolized the American art market for five decades. Duveen Brothers helped to form the art collections of many extremely wealthy Americans. A number of these collections became the nuclei of U.S. museums such as the Frick Collection, the Huntington Art Collections and the National Gallery of Art.

The Duveen Brothers business began when Joseph Joel Duveen (1843-1908) and his younger brother, Henry J. Duveen (1855-1918), left their home in Meppel, Holland for Hull, England. They specialized in selling delftware from their native Holland and later branched out to include Chinese porcelain, tapestries, furniture, and old master paintings. The Duveens opened a London office in 1879; a New York office followed in 1886. In 1897 the firm closed a temporary shop located on the rue de la Paix in Paris and reopened a grander store on the Place Vendôme, later referred to as the "Little Palace." By this time Duveen Brothers was purchasing important paintings, including acquisitions from the Mulgrave Castle sale of 1890 and the Murrieta sale of 1892.

Shortly after Henry J. Duveen arrived in New York to head the office there, his brother Joseph Joel sent his son Joseph (later Sir Joseph of Millbank, also known as Joe or just Duveen) to assist his uncle Henry. By the 1880s Henry had developed a clientele of American millionaires whose wealth in those years was without precedent. Joseph became more active in the management of the New York house, took over its operations in 1907, and served as president of the firm between 1909 and 1939. One of the first changes Joseph Duveen made was to move the New York house to a more highly visible location on Fifth Avenue. He transformed the Duveen show rooms, displaying art with dramatic lighting in lavish surroundings. He made grand gestures to persuade prospective clients, as, for example, when he had an elaborate plaster model of Senator Clark's Fifth Avenue mansion constructed (at the cost of $20,000) to entice the Senator to hire Duveen Brothers to furnish it.

While in New York Joseph made a number of bold purchases on behalf of Duveen Brothers. In 1906 he acquired three large collections: the Rodolfe Kann collection, the Maurice Kann collection, and the Hainauer collection. In 1927 he bought the Robert H. Benson collection of 114 Italian paintings in England and three years later he purchased the Dreyfus collection of Italian paintings and sculpture in Paris. Joseph sold selections from the Dreyfus collection to Andrew Mellon and Samuel H. Kress; these items formed the core of the National Gallery collections in Washington, D.C. As late as 1939, the year of his death, Joseph was still selling paintings and sculpture from these purchases.

As president of Duveen Brothers, Joseph developed with a number of clients extremely close ties that went beyond influencing their art-buying habits. He arranged travel plans for his important clients, designed their table settings, and stored their preferred cigars in the Duveen Brothers' vaults. Joseph Duveen was actively involved in numerous art organizations and served as a trustee for the National Gallery, London; the Wallace Collection; and the Imperial Gallery of Art, London. He was a member of the Council of the British School at Rome and of the National Art Collections Fund. Joseph founded the British Artists Exhibitions Organization for the encouragement of lesser known British artists. He provided for additions to and extensions of London museums, such as the Tate Gallery (a new building of several galleries for modern foreign art, works by Sargent, and modern foreign sculpture), the National Gallery (a new building), the National Portrait Gallery (a new building of several galleries), London University, and the British Museum (a new building for the housing of the Elgin marbles and Nereid statues). In 1930 he wrote Thirty Years of British Art .

The Duveen Brothers' business began to decline after Joseph's death in 1939, at which time Armand Lowengard (Joseph Duveen's nephew) and Edward Fowles became joint owners of the firm. When Lowengard died in 1943, Edward Fowles assumed the presidency of Duveen Brothers. The Nazi occupation of France forced Duveen Brothers to evacuate Paris. The London office closed shortly thereafter. After the war Duveen Brothers had a number of notable clients, such as Henry Ford II and Robert Lehman, but the business never regained its former vibrancy. In 1964 Edward Fowles sold Duveen Brothers to Norton Simon, including the East 79th Street mansion and all remaining stock (excluding the business records). Edward Fowles served as a consultant to the Norton Simon Foundation and, in 1968, donated his papers and the Duveen Brothers business records to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they were housed until 1996. In 1969 the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute purchased the Duveen library of books, periodicals, exhibition catalogues, and sales catalogues, along with a portion of the Duveen Brothers business records that was interfiled with the library and remains at the Clark. In 1996 the Metropolitan Museum of Art donated the Duveen archive to the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute.

From the guide to the Duveen Brothers records, 1876-1981, 1909-1964, (Getty Research Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Letter signed : from Joseph Duveen to Belle Greene, 1923 Mar. 26, May 24. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Letter signed : from Geoffrey Duveen to Belle Greene, 1912 Nov. 5. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Letter : New York, to J. Pierpont Morgan, 1913 Jan. 4. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Fowles, Edward, 1885?-1971. Edward Fowles interview, 1959 Aug. 21. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Carlhian (Firm). Carlhian records, 1867-1988. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Correspondence with Belle Greene, 1910. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Institutional file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Pierpont Morgan Library. [Chronicle of Flanders]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Clark, Robert Sterling, 1877-1956. Sterling and Francine Clark Papers: Realia Series, 1877-1956. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Clark
referencedIn Avery, Samuel Putnam, 1822-1904. Diaries, 1871-1882. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Valentiner, Wilhelm Reinhold, 1880-1958. Wilhelm Reinhold Valentiner papers, 1860-1974. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919. One East 70th Street Papers 1907 - 1931. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers records, 1910-1933. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919. Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Art Files, 1881-1925, undated. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Weibel, Adele Coulin, 1880-1963. The Textile Department records, 1876-1973 (1927-1970). Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archives, DIA Research Library & Archives
referencedIn Heise, Carl Georg, 1890-1979. Letters received, 1908-1970. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919. Henry Clay Frick Art Collection Files, 1881-1920. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Fowles, Edward, 1885?-1971,. Oral history interview with Edward Fowles, 1959 Aug. 21 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Chabrières-Arlès Collection, Paris. Chabrières-Arles collection, 1916. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Clark
referencedIn Gardner, Isabella Stewart, 1840-1924. Isabella Stewart Gardner papers, 1760-1956. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959. Bernard and Mary Berenson, Papers (1880-2002, bulk 1880-1959) : a finding aid. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Brooke, David S. Records and Papers of David Brooke, Director, 1975-1996. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Clark
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers stock book, 1877 October 18 and 1878 January 24. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Papers, 1867-2005 Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard University
referencedIn Berenson, Bernard and Mary. Papers, 1880-2002, 1880-2002 Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
referencedIn Higgins, John Woodman, 1874-1961. Higgins Armory Museum collection, ca. 1929-[ongoing]. Higgins Armory Museum
creatorOf Duveen Brothers. Letter signed : to Pierpont Morgan, 1907 Mar. 19. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Director's Office Records, 1955-1977. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Clark
creatorOf Duveen Brothers records, 1876-1981, 1909-1964 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969. Papers, 1867-2005. Harvard University Art Museum
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Avery, Samuel Putnam, 1822-1904. person
associatedWith Bache, Jules S. 1861-1944 person
associatedWith Bellini, Giovanni, d. 1516. person
associatedWith Benson, Robert, 1850-1929 person
associatedWith Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959 person
associatedWith Berenson, Mary, 1864-1945 person
associatedWith Birley, Oswald person
associatedWith Bode, Wilhelm von, 1845-1929. person
associatedWith Botticelli, Sandro, 1444 or 5-1510. person
associatedWith Brockwell, Maurice Walter, 1869-1958. person
associatedWith Brooke, David S. person
associatedWith Carlhian (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Carlhian (Firm : New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Chabrières-Arlès Collection, Paris. corporateBody
associatedWith Clark, Robert Sterling, 1877-1956. person
associatedWith Constable, John, 1776-1837. person
associatedWith David, Gérard, ca. 1460-1523. person
associatedWith Douglas, R. Langton 1864-1951. person
associatedWith Dreyfus, Gustave, 1837-1914 person
associatedWith Duveen, Henry person
associatedWith Duveen, Henry, 1854-1919. person
associatedWith Duveen, Joseph Duveen, Baron, 1869-1939. person
associatedWith Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969. person
associatedWith Fowles, Edward. person
associatedWith Fowles, Edward, 1885?-1971. person
associatedWith Fragonard, Jean-Honoré, 1732-1806. person
associatedWith Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919 person
associatedWith Friedländer, Max J., 1867-1958. person
associatedWith Gardner, Isabella Stewart, 1840-1924. person
associatedWith Getty, J. Paul 1892-1976 person
associatedWith Giorgione, 1477-1511. person
associatedWith Goya, Francisco, 1746-1828. person
associatedWith Greco, 1541?-1614. person
associatedWith Greene, Belle da Costa, person
associatedWith Gulbenkian, Calouste Sarkis person
associatedWith Hainauer, Oscar person
associatedWith Hals, Frans, 1584-1666. person
associatedWith Heise, Carl Georg, 1890-1979. person
associatedWith Higgins, John Woodman, 1874-1961. person
associatedWith Holbein, Hans, 1497-1543. person
associatedWith Hoppner, James, 1758-1810. person
associatedWith Houdon, Jean Antoine, 1741-1828. person
associatedWith Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927 person
associatedWith Kahn, Otto Herman, 1867-1934 person
associatedWith Kahn, Otto Hermann, 1867-1934 person
associatedWith Kann, Maurice person
associatedWith Kann, Rodolphe, 1905 person
associatedWith Kann, Rodolphe, d. 1905 person
associatedWith Kann, Rodolphe, d. 1905- person
associatedWith Kleinberger Galleries corporateBody
associatedWith Kress, Samuel H. 1863-1955 person
associatedWith Kress, Samuel H. (Samuel Henry), 1850-1927 person
associatedWith Lefferts, Marshall C. 1848-1928, person
associatedWith Lotto, Lorenzo, 1480? -1556? person
associatedWith Mellon, Andrew W. 1855-1937 person
associatedWith Mellon, Andrew W. (Andrew William), 1863-1955 person
associatedWith Memling, Hans, 1430? -1494 person
associatedWith Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Morgan, J. P. 1867-1943 person
associatedWith Morgan, J. Pierpont 1837-1913, person
associatedWith Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943 person
associatedWith Pierpont Morgan Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Planiscig, Leo, 1887-1952. person
associatedWith Raeburn, Henry, Sir, 1756-1823 person
associatedWith Raphael, 1483-1520 person
associatedWith Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669 person
associatedWith Reynolds, Joshua, Sir, 1723-1792 person
associatedWith Romney, George, 1734-1802 person
associatedWith Simon, Norton, 1907-1993 person
associatedWith Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Stotesbury, Edward Townsend, 1849-1938 person
associatedWith Swarzenski, Georg, b. 1876. person
associatedWith Swarzenski, Georg, b. 1876. person
associatedWith Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith Titian, ca. 1488-1576 person
associatedWith Valentiner, Wilhelm Reinhold, 1880-1958. person
associatedWith Van Dyck, Anthony, Sir, 1599-1641 person
associatedWith Velázquez, Diego, 1599-1660 person
associatedWith Vermeer, Johannes, 1632-1675 person
associatedWith Weibel, Adele Coulin, 1880-1963. person
associatedWith Widener, Joseph E. 1872-1943 person
associatedWith Wildenstein and Company (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Great Britain
New York (State)--New York
New York (N.Y.)
France
United States
Subject
Decorative arts--Collectors and collecting
Rugs--Collectors and collecting
Painting, European--Collectors and collecting
Porcelain--Collectors and collecting
Art dealers--France
Decorative art
Art--Expertising
Sculpture, European--Collectors and collecting
Art--Private collections
Art dealers--Great Britain
Art dealers--United States
Art dealers
Tapestry--Collectors and collecting
Drawing, European--Collectors and collecting
Art--Exhibitions
Art dealers--19th century
Collectors and collecting
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1975

Active 1996

Britons

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6wt3g5b

Ark ID: w6wt3g5b

SNAC ID: 46825670